We can all be so grateful that the cheerful folks at the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens, under the careful supervision of Bob Price, are constantly coming up with original events and ideas to attract the attention of visitors and residents alike. And while the summer heat may discourage many to step outside of the comfort of their air-conditioned shelters, you’d be surprised at how much cooler it is up in the mountains, only 35 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta. I was there this past weekend for a quick getaway, which coincided with their monthly pig roast event, and had such a great time spending the most of the day at this spectacular local treasure, I put together this list of reasons why you may not want to take it for granted, and why you may want to ensure that this amazing landmark is at the top of your “must-visit-while-in-Puerto-Vallarta” list. In no particular order:
1. It’s much cooler than Puerto Vallarta
Since the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens are located 1,300 feet above sea level, you’d be surprised at the difference in temperature you’ll experience by heading south along Puerto Vallarta’s main highway (Carr. 200 Sur). Can’t take the heat? Just head south!
2. It’s easy to reach by car or public transportation
No car? No problem! The scenic ride takes less than 45 minutes, and the bus to Tuito (which can be easily hailed from the intersection of Insurgentes and Basilio Badillo Sts.) will drop you off right at the door. The buses are clearly marked with the words “Botanical Gardens” on the windshield.
3. It’s the only place in town for you to enjoy a vanilla mojito
But first, a disclaimer: I detest mojitos! That said, and given the fact that the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens are eagerly promoting fresh vanilla as an attraction (they have heaps of these curious vines growing everywhere on the premises), I sampled their very own “secret recipe” vanilla mojito, which features organic vanilla pods ground into the cocktail. I was hooked on the spot! I still cannot stand mojitos, but I will definitely drink one of these again and again, each time I visit the Gardens. Now, a warning: they can be habit forming!
4. It’s a perfect place for you to read a book, uninterrupted
There are plenty of comfy spots, sofas and couches in the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens’ main building to dive into a chunky book while the fresh breeze caresses your body. I’m an audiobook kinda guy and although I found it difficult to resist the natural sounds at this birdwatcher’s haven, I shamelessly put on my headphones and put out my invisible “do not disturb” sign.
5. You can stay connected
If you have become so dependent on your computer that you must bring it everywhere, or if you are trying to outbid someone on that special eBay item, but you can’t possibly miss the end of the auction, fear not: the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens feature wireless internet access.
6. You can pig out (pun intended!)
Again, if you are lucky enough to visit the Gardens on one of their monthly pig roasts, you will savour cochinita pibil, a traditional method of slow-cooking pork that originated in Mexico’s state of Yucatán. And if pig’s not your thing, the restaurant menu features traditional Mexican breakfast and lunch items, along with delicious brick-oven pizza, served with a variety of toppings.
But… What about the Gardens?
You are probably wondering why I left out the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardnes, that is, the over 3,000 species of plants available there, or the gift shop, or the nursery, or the Rose Garden, the Orchid House, the jungle trails, the nearby river, or even Carnivorous Plant Collection. Let me say this: they speak for themselves. The work that has been accomplished by Bob and his team, to position the Gardens as a must-not-miss Puerto Vallarta landmark in such a short amount of time (the Gardens have only been in operation since 2004) has no comparison. The entrance fee is more than worthwhile.